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2022 Dollar Tree Stuffed Animal Review

 Disclaimer: I was paid to write this post and it also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links-but I purchased the items myself and all opinions are my own..

We normally try to pick up our stuffed animals on clearance, but with the last two years containing less runs to stores, less income, and supply chain difficulties we haven’t gotten as many as we’d like.  So, we decided before Dollar Tree prices went up we’d order a few different kinds from Dollar Tree to jump-start our stock.  We weren't sure what to expect as we hadn’t been able to check these out in store and, while we’d been happy with Dollar Tree Stuffed animals in the past,  it’d been a while and quality can change.  I also thought I could then report back to all of you, so you could know if you wanted to order some for your boxes.  We were quite pleased with the three we got, and I’ll share a little about each one below.

First up, the Customizable Plush Bears (http://shrsl.com/3c93j)  These were a little smaller than we’d pictured, but while that doesn’t make it as much of a major “Wow” item it will fit into more boxes and is totally nice enough for a child’s main stuffed animal friend.  These would also be great for these crochet loveies with stuffed animal “heads” http://www.simplyshoeboxes.com/2019/03/diy-crochet-granny-square-lovey-and.html 

Second, the Fuzzy Plush Hedgehogs (http://shrsl.com/3c93l).  These have been available for a while, and we were actually hesitant to buy them as they sounded too small, but once we got them we were quite pleased with their size for shoeboxes, and boy are they cute!  Excited to pack them this year.  Last I looked they weren’t listed as available, but they’ve had them off and on for years, so I’d keep checking if you’re interested as they should come back in stock I’d think!

Finally we got Fuzzy Friends Colorful Animal Plushies which turned out to be very cute and soft!  And I like that there are four different animals for more variety!  When I went to get a link, I couldn’t find them listed anymore, so must not be available at the moment, but here’s a link to their general stuffed animal area on the website: http://shrsl.com/3c93r  there are other cute options, hopefully you can use the reviews above to find something that’ll work for your boxes, especially with Valentines and Easter animals coming in right now!

One thing we try to think about is would we give this to a child we knew personally, and yes, I think we would with all of these.  To see more views of this, check out this video:

A Very Special Shoebox

I got a chance to pack a very special shoebox last year.

In addition to being over shoeboxes at my church, our family is kind of over the ministry to our homebound members (if you're interested in that ministry, check out my YouTube Channel: Serving Seniors and Shut-ins).   Through that we've built relationships with some of the homebound.  My sister had texted one lady, Sue, in a nursing home a photo of me heading out to film a video about shoeboxes at my church.  Sue was touched and asked if she could give money towards the shoeboxes!  Totally a "Widow's Mite" indeed!  Since this was the height of Covid restrictions, we couldn't go and pick it up, she mailed it.  I "shopped" our stock to pack a shoebox with things I knew she'd like/I thought she'd pick: Minnie Mouse, glittery, a hat etc.  I took a photo to send it to her to let her know what she sent!  I love how God can use shoeboxes to build relationships and bless people on both sides of the box!

Shoeboxes Are a Go in 2020

 As 2020 has seemed such a crazy year, shoeboxes may have gone to the back burner of our minds, and when they pop to the front, some may even question if shoeboxes can still be distributed in a year like this?  Well the answer is: yes, they can!  Samaritian's Purse and Operation Christmas Child are working hard to make collection as safe as possible.  You can read their plans here:  https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/covid-19/.  They're also coordinating with their ministry partners in the distributing countries for safely getting shoeboxes to the kids.  I'm sure their health experts are helping them make these decisions, and they should be experts as they're working in multiple continents helping respond to the Covid crisis: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/global-covid-19-response/.   

So, they're working on their end, it's up to us to work on our end.  I'm sure packing parties will be looking different.  The OCC link above has ideas for making packing parties safer.  If you pack as an individual, that removes a few of the variables, but shopping may still be kinda tricky depending on your risk level, and the outbreak level in your area.  Thankfully we got a lot early this year, and were able to get most of the rest online or thru curbside pick-up.  If that doesn't work for you, remember there is an option to build a box online: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/buildonline/

Bird Themed Shoebox for 10-14 Year Old Girl Thru Operation Christmas Child

I really enjoyed birds when I was a girl in the 10-14 year old range-even played with the idea of going into the field of ornithology.  I still like birds, so this was fun box to put together.

It started with the Beanie Baby which I said looked like an albino cardinal-much to the amusement of my family.  Then I found the photo/gift box
When I do a theme box, what that means to me is while I stick to my normal list of things to include, I try to find versions of those items that fit the theme.  I may add an extra unique item or two, but on the whole it's the same list, just different types.  My basic list for those interested is:
  • Hygiene supplies (soap & casetoothbrush & case; washcloth; comb)
  • School supplies (lined paper, pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser, ruler, etc.)
  • Art supplies (crayons, watercolors, and/or colored pencils; plain paper and/or coloring book; stickers, etc.)
  • Ball
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Toy
  • Game
  • Something to wear
  • Whistle
  • Some sort of container (maybe a bag or tin)
  • And a family photo (not pictured above)

If you'd like a better look at what exact items I packed in this box, and how I fit it all in, check out this unboxing video I took of it:

For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for 10-14 year old girls or our themed boxes!

Crochet Flower and Heart Pins Instructions

Small handcrafted accessories are great to add to an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and these crochet flower and heart pins are perfect to tuck in a corner of a box.  Chelle, from Chelle's Caybees, wrote up these instructions for the ones her mom Vickie makes and donates to our packing each year.

We have packed literally hundreds of these in our OCC shoeboxes.  We have used many to share with the seniors and shut ins of our church, too (check out our Facebook page if interested in helping the elderly:  Serving Seniors and Shut Ins).  We also tuck them into pencil cases for fillers we send (see The Pencil Granny and Friends on Facebook for details of packing school supplies to donate as fillers if you are interested).

Crochet Heart Pins

Supplies:  small amounts of Worsted Weight Yarn and an F Hook (I usually use 1-2 sizes down to make it tight) I used an H hook here so the stitches would show better.


How I Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

I took a couple videos recently to show how I pack a shoebox.  Now, remember-this is not the "right way", just my way I'm sharing in case it helps others.

The first video shows how I pick items:

The second video shows how I make the items fit:

Now, if you want to be sure you're packing shoeboxes the "right way" check out my post: How to Correctly Pack a Shoebox.

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.